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Elko, NV, United States

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

Elko, NV, United States
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News Article | December 5, 2016

RENO, Nev. - An earthquake much more powerful and damaging than last year's 7.8 magnitude quake could rock Kathmandu and the Himalayan Frontal Fault, an international team of seismic experts has concluded. The unsettling news comes after field research and analysis in the year following the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, which killed 9,000 people and destroyed 600,000 structures throughout the region. Geophysics professor and director of the Center for Neotectonic Studies, Steve Wesnousky of the University of Nevada, Reno, has been studying the Himalayan Frontal Fault for 20 years. He was one of the first scientists into the region to assess the geophysical impacts following last year's quake. His latest research was published in the Elsevier science journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. "We conducted a number of paleoearthquake studies in the vicinity of Katmandu in the past year, digging trenches and studying soils and faultlines looking back over the past 2,000 years," Wesnousky said. "Coupled with the historical record, it's apparent the faults are capable of earthquakes far greater than the Gorkha earthquake." Last year's earthquake and aftershocks could be viewed as a warning of a more powerful earthquake that could rock the region with even more devastating effects. The team's observations shows the Tribeni site is probably approaching or is in the later stages of strain accumulation before a large earthquake, which could produce 15- to 30-foot high fractures in the earth. "The sum of our observations suggest that this section of the Himalayan Frontal Thrust fault, extending about 200 kilometers from Tribeni to Bagmati, may rupture simultaneously, and the next great earthquake near Kathmandu may rupture an area significantly greater than in the Gorkha earthquake," Wesnousky said. "It is prudent to consider that the fault near Kathmandu is in the later stages of a strain accumulation cycle prior to a great thrust earthquake, much greater than occurred in 2015. In these regards, the 2015 Gorkha earthquake did not diminish the current level of seismic hazard in Kathmandu." Funded by the National Science Foundation, the team visited the Kathmandu region several times for hands-on study of the faultlines. They dug two deep trenches near the mouths of major rivers at Tribeni and Bagmati. They examined structural, stratigraphic (layers of rocks and soils) and radiocarbon relationships in trenches across the fault where it has produced steep banks in soil deposited by the rivers. In these trenches is evidence that earthquake displacement along this part of the Himalayan Frontal Thrust has produced surface ruptures resulting in a scarp, a steep bank, of at least five meters or 15 feet vertical separation sometime between the years 1221 and 1262 in Tribeni, located about 200 kilometers south of Kathmandu. At the Bagmati site, the vertical separation across the scarp registers about 10 meters, or 30 feet and possibly greater, and was formed between 1031 and 1321 AD. "The scenario we developed hypothesizes that the next great earthquake may begin to the west near Tribeni and propagate into the section of fault beneath Kathmandu that did not rupture during the 2015 Gorkha earthquake," Wesnousky said. "The length of such a rupture would be about 200 kilometers or greater and capable of producing a magnitude 8 or greater earthquake. This scenario is not unique." Wesnousky's research team includes Deepak Chamlagain, a professor at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Yashurhiro Kumahara a professor at Hiroshima University in Japan, Ian Pierce of the Center for Neotectonics Studies and the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, Alina Karki of Tribhuvan University and Dipendra Gautam of the Centre for Disaster and Climate Change Studies in Kathmandu. Wesnousky, a member of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory in the College of Science, has six peer-reviewed scientific papers about the Himalayan fault and more than 100 papers about earthquakes published during his career. His work centers on the foothills south of Kathmandu, just over the border in India and he has expanded his study area following the historic quake, the first large quake in that area since 1930. Following the April 2015 quake he and two of his doctoral students, Ian Pierce and Steve Angster, spent six days in the area south of Kathmandu looking for ground ruptures, following leads from villagers and residents as well as visiting various other sites studied in the past. During their studies, the graduate students sent photos and updates about their work in the Himalayas, which are posted on the University's website at http://www. . Their observations are working to further define the seismic hazard of the region as well as the mechanics of fault rupture along major continental thrust faults. A Fulbright Scholar, Wesnousky has studied earthquakes, faultlines and seismic activity throughout Nevada and parts of South America, California, Pakistan, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, the Solomon Islands, China and India. "Steve embodies the quintessential University professor and scientist, conducting a full body of relevant research, successful teaching and community outreach," Jeff Thompson, dean of the College of Science, said. "He has done a wonderful job with the neotectonics center, informing the body of knowledge on the world's most hazardous earthquake fault zones." Photo cutline: Professor Steve Wesnousky of the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno examines layers of rock and soil in a trench in Tribeni, a small town in central Nepal, to study the frequency of large earthquakes on the Himalayan Frontal Fault. In a recently published study, his team concludes this 200-kilometer long section of the earthquake fault could rupture spontaneously in a magnitude 8 or greater earthquake. Photo courtesy of the University of Nevada, Reno. Nevada's land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno ranks in the top tier of best national universities by U.S. News and World Report and is steadily growing in enrollment, excellence and reputation. The University serves more than 21,000 students. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University is home to the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and Wolf Pack Athletics. Through a commitment to world-improving research, student success and outreach benefiting the communities and businesses of Nevada, the University has impact across the state and around the world. For more information, visit

Porensky L.M.,University of Nevada, Reno | Leger E.A.,University of Nevada, Reno | Davison J.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension | Miller W.W.,University of Nevada, Reno | And 5 more authors.
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2014

Rates of cropland abandonment in arid regions are increasing, and abandoned fields in such regions can have low levels of ecosystem function and biodiversity. Long-lived, drought-tolerant shrubs are dominant components of many arid ecosystems, providing multiple ecosystem services such as soil stabilization, herbaceous plant facilitation, carbon storage and wildlife habitat. On abandoned agricultural fields, shrub restoration is hindered by multiple challenges, including erosion, water stress and invasive species. We hypothesized that applying short-term irrigation and seeding native perennial grasses would facilitate native shrub establishment by reducing erosion and weed abundance. Using a blocked split-plot design, we evaluated the separate and combined impacts of short-term irrigation and perennial grass seeding on five-year restoration outcomes (including direct measurements of wind erosion) at two former agricultural fields in North America's arid Great Basin. After two years, irrigation had increased the density and biomass of seeded grasses by more than ten-fold. The combination of irrigation and seeded grasses was associated with significantly lower wind erosion, weed density and weed biomass. Three years after irrigation ended, seeded grasses remained significantly more abundant in formerly irrigated than non-irrigated plots. Formerly irrigated plots also had significantly less bare ground, annual plant cover and weed biomass than non-irrigated plots. Large plant-canopy gaps were fewer in irrigated and seeded plots. Although seeded grasses reduced erosion and invasion, they failed to facilitate native shrub establishment. Shrub cover and density were highest in plots that had been drill-seeded and irrigated, but lacked perennial grasses. Our results indicate that short-term irrigation has persistent restoration benefits, and that a tradeoff exists between the benefits and costs of seeding perennial grasses into degraded arid shrubland sites. © 2013.

Today, Pearson announced an expanded partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno, to launch its second online degree collaboration with the university. The new online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program builds on Pearson’s existing partnership with the University, to support the online Master of Social Work (MSW). Designed to fit the schedules of working professionals, the MPH program meets the needs of career advancers and career changers in the public health field. Through its online program management (OPM) group, Pearson is providing comprehensive services including marketplace research, program design consulting, institutional preparedness assessment, marketing, recruitment, retention-focused student support, course development, 24/7/365 helpdesk, and faculty training in online tools, methodologies and pedagogical approaches. “We are excited to offer an online option to enhance and expand the practical skills needed for a successful career in public health practice,” said Dr. Trudy Larson, the University’s director of School of Community Health Sciences. “Whether students are currently working in public health or new to the field, we believe this curriculum offers them an opportunity to develop skills that will make them highly competitive in many careers.” “The demand for many types of public health professionals is increasing annually and Nevada is no stranger to this growing demand,” said Kevin Carman, the University’s executive vice president and provost. “We see an obvious need to develop a pipeline of well-educated, healthcare professionals ready to fill positions in our own backyard, but also to bridge the gap across the country.” Various types of public health professionals are expected to see much higher demand in the near future, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of the highest paid public health positions include health and safety engineer, environmental scientist, healthcare administrator, and epidemiologist. “Through our expanded partnership with the University, we are honored to have this opportunity to help learners advance their education to pursue successful and rewarding careers in this vitally important field of public health,” said Todd Hitchcock, senior vice president of online learning services, Pearson. Pearson provides comprehensive online program management (OPM) services, and partners with more than 40 higher education institutions across the country to implement and sustain over 250 undergraduate and graduate programs, which have produced more than 30,000 graduates. In 2016, a total of 6,893 students graduated from programs powered by Pearson’s student support and retention services, a component of many OPM partner solutions. About Pearson Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit About the University of Nevada, Reno Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno ranks in the top tier of best national universities by U.S. News & World Report and is steadily growing in enrollment, excellence and reputation. The University serves nearly 21,000 students. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University is home to the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and Wolf Pack Athletics. Through a commitment to world-improving research, student success and outreach benefiting the communities and businesses of Nevada, the University has impact across the state and around the world. For more information, visit

Clements C.D.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Young J.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Harmon D.N.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | McCuin G.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Rangelands | Year: 2010

Restoration or re-vegetation of winterfat communities is critical to support the sustainability of grazing lands in the US for free-roaming horses, wildlife, and the range livestock industry. In central and eastern Nevada many winterfat communities are dying and are being replaced by the exotic, invasive weed halogeton. Spring Valley North, Site number one was the most challenging site, where the exclosure was surrounded by halogeton-dominated rangeland in poor ecological condition. Spring Valley South, Site number 2 was largely surrounded by winterfat communities in good to excellent ecological condition. A lack of summer precipitation likely caused these seedlings to die off. Without favorably timed precipitation, rangeland seedings are doomed to fail in harsh environments, even with good seedling emergence. The presence of cheatgrass at this site resulted in greater competition. To control broadleaf annuals such as Russian thistle and halogeton, 2-4D was applied in the same manner as at the Strawberry site.

Kent McAdoo J.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension | Boyd C.S.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Sheley R.L.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Rangeland Ecology and Management | Year: 2013

Within the sagebrush steppe ecosystem, sagebrush plants influence a number of ecosystem properties, including nutrient distribution, plant species diversity, soil moisture, and temperature, and provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species. Recent increases in frequency and size of wildfires and associated annual grass expansion within the Wyoming big sagebrush alliance have increased the need for effective sagebrush restoration tools and protocols. Our objectives were to quantify the success of Wyoming big sagebrush transplants relative to transplant stock (nursery seedlings vs. wildlings) across different ecological sites and vegetation types and to test the hypothesis that reduction of herbaceous vegetation would increase survival of transplanted sagebrush. We used a randomized block (reps=5) design at each of three sites-1) cheatgrass dominated, 2) native plant dominated, and 3) crested wheatgrass dominated-near Elko, Nevada. Treatments included plant stock (nursery stock or locally harvested wildlings) and herbicide (glyphosate) to reduce competition from herbaceous vegetation. Transplants were planted in the spring of 2009 and 2010 and monitored for survival. Data were analyzed for site and treatment effects using mixed-model ANOVA. Surviving plant density at and 2 yr postplanting was generally highest (up to 3-fold) on the native site (P<0.05). Density of surviving transplants was almost 3-fold higher for nursery stock on most sites for the 2009 planting, but differences in survival by planting stock were minimal for the 2010 planting. Glyphosate application increased surviving plant density up to 300% (depending on site) for both years of planting. High labor and plant material investments (relative to traditional drilling or broadcasting) may limit the size of projects for which sagebrush transplants are practical, but these costs may be partially offset by high success relative to traditional methods. Our data indicate that sagebrush transplants can be effective for establishing sagebrush on depleted sites. © 2013 The Society for Range Management.

McGwire K.C.,Desert Research Institute | Minor T.B.,Desert Research Institute | Schultz B.W.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing | Year: 2011

This paper demonstrates a new method called progressive discrimination (PD) for mapping an individual spectral class within an image. Given training data for a target, PD iteratively samples nontarget image pixels using a collapsing distance threshold within the space of an evolving discriminant function. This has the effect of progressively isolating the target class from similar spectra in the image. PD was compared to Bayesian maximum likelihood classification, mixture-tuned matched filtering, spectral angle mapping, and support vector machine methods for mapping three different invasive species in two types of high-spatial-resolution airborne hyperspectral imagery, AVIRIS and AISA. When tested with 20 different randomly selected groups of training fields, PD classification accuracies for the two spectrally distinct plant species in these images had an average of 98% and a standard deviation of 1%. These randomized trials were capable of providing higher classification accuracies than the best results obtained by two expert analysts using existing methods. For the third species that was less distinct, PD results were comparable to the results obtained by experienced analysts with existing methods. Despite requiring less input from the user than many techniques, PD provided more consistent high mapping accuracy, making it an ideal tool for scientists and land use managers who are not trained in image processing. © 2011 IEEE.

Lindsay A.R.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension | Warren C.S.,University of Nevada, Las Vegas | Velasquez S.C.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension | Lu M.,University of Nevada, Reno
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment | Year: 2012

Given that women increasingly report using drugs to lose weight, substance abuse treatment programs must include body image, weight, eating pathology, and health knowledge as core intervention targets. This study tested the efficacy of a supplemental health and body image curriculum designed for women in substance abuse treatment who report weight concerns called Healthy Steps to Freedom (HSF). Data from 124 adult women recruited from substance abuse treatment facilities in southern Nevada completed measures of drug use, body dissatisfaction, eating pathology, thin-ideal internalization, and health knowledge/behaviors before and after participation in the 12-week HSF program. Results revealed that thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, and eating disorder symptoms significantly decreased after HSF program participation, whereas health-related behaviors (e.g., increased healthy food consumption) and knowledge (e.g., understanding of basic nutrition, exercise) increased. These results suggest that the inclusion of the HSF program in substance abuse treatment improves weight-related issues in substance-abusing women. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Porensky L.M.,University of Nevada, Reno | Davison J.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension | Leger E.A.,University of Nevada, Reno | Miller W.W.,University of Nevada, Reno | And 3 more authors.
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2014

In arid regions, reductions in the amount of available agricultural water are fueling interest in alternative, low water-use crops. Perennial grasses have potential as low water-use biofuel crops. However, little is known about which perennial grasses can produce high quantity, high quality yields with low irrigation on formerly high-input agricultural fields in arid regions. We monitored biomass production, weed resistance, rooting depth, and root architecture of nine perennial grasses under multiple irrigation treatments in western Nevada. Under a low irrigation treatment (71±9cm irrigation water annually), cool-season grasses produced more biomass and were more weed-resistant than warm-season grasses. With additional irrigation (120±12cm water annually), warm- and cool-season grasses had similar biomass production, but cool-season species remained more weed-resistant. Among species within each grass type, we observed high variability in performance. Two cool-season species (Elytrigia elongata and Leymus cinereus) and one warm-season species (Bothriochloa ischaemum) performed better than the other tested species. Root depth was not correlated with biomass production, but species with deeper roots had fewer weeds. Abundance of fine roots (but not large roots) was correlated with increased biomass and fewer weeds. Both L. cinereus and E. elongata had deep root systems dominated by fine roots, while B. ischaemum had many fine roots in shallow soil but few roots in deeper soil. Cool-season grasses (particularly E. elongata, L. cinereus, and other species with abundant fine roots) may be worthy of further attention as potential biofuel crops for cold desert agriculture. © 2014.

Swanson S.R.,University of Nevada, Reno | Swanson J.C.,University of Nevada, Reno | Murphy P.J.,University of Nevada, Reno | McAdoo J.K.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension | Schultz B.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Humboldt County
Rangeland Ecology and Management | Year: 2016

Many Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis) communities are invaded by exotic annuals, especially cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.), promoting larger and more frequent wildfires. Mowing sagebrush can reduce fire risk. To identify community features favoring regeneration of native perennials over exotic annuals, we compared paired, adjacent unmowed and mowed areas treated between 2001 and 2010 at 76 sites across northern and central Nevada. We quantified soil surface and foliar cover in 12 cover groups, as well as slope, aspect, elevation, and time since mowing (0-10 years). We identified unmowed cover characteristics and site covariates that best predicted herbaceous cover in mowed areas and differences in herbaceous cover between adjacent mowed and unmowed areas. Mowed areas had significantly (P < 0.01) more absolute cover (%) of litter (14.6), perennial grasses (4.9), cheatgrass (2.0), and exotic forbs (1.1) and less sagebrush (-13.5), bare soil (-11.4), moss (-3.3), and rock (-0.8) than adjacent unmowed areas. Except for sagebrush, all cover group values were correlated between unmowed and mowed areas. The "perennial balance" (perennial minus annual herbaceous cover) was positive at 75% (57) of mowed areas and increased from unmowed to mowed areas at 51 sites. A positive perennial balance in mowed areas was more likely where paired unmowed areas lacked cheatgrass, had greater cover of perennial grass, and less of exotic forbs. Likewise, sites whose unmowed areas had > 30% sagebrush cover consisting of smaller plants had larger gains in perennial balance from unmowed to mowed areas. An increase in perennial balance from unmowed to mowed areas was more likely in central and northeastern Nevada and at sites mowed more recently. To encourage perennial grasses over annual herbaceous species in Wyoming big sagebrush communities, mowing is better suited to locales lacking exotic annuals and retaining ample cover of perennial grasses and sagebrush of smaller size. © 2016 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Cobourn J.,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
International Journal of Design and Nature and Ecodynamics | Year: 2012

Lake Tahoe, on the border of Nevada and California in the Sierra Nevada, is the world's 11th deepest lake and is one of the clearest high altitude lakes in the world. Since Secchi disk monitoring began in the late 1960s, average water transparency has decreased from over 30 m to about 20 m. Efforts to reduce the decline in the water clarity of Lake Tahoe have been ongoing; since the early 1970s. One unique method to reduce nonpoint source pollution of the lake is the Best Management Practice (BMP) Retrofi t program of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA). This bi-state agency requires all developed properties in the Lake Tahoe Basin to implement water quality BMPs. The TRPA has worked with local Conservation Districts, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension to develop small-scale erosion control and runoff infi ltration practices. Homeowners and small business owners can install these BMPs to reduce the amount of nutrient and fi ne sediment-bearing runoff fl owing into street and highway storm drains from private properties. In turn, city and state road departments can design facilities sized only for the runoff from the public right-of-way. This saves city and state governments millions of dollars in infrastructure costs. Special techniques have been developed to capture runoff from rooftops and driveways, convey it to an infi ltration system, and let it soak into the soil. Bare soil areas must be planted and/or covered with mulch to prevent erosion. Bare areas on slopes over 50% must be treated with structures as well as vegetation. Building and landscape contractors are trained annually in proper BMP installation, and the textbook, How to Install Residential Scale Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the Lake Tahoe Basin, has been translated into Spanish. Lake monitoring since 2000 shows positive results. © 2012 WIT Press.

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